Legion of Honor Museum on Mother’s Day

Monet the Early Years

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Urs Fischer in the Permanent Collection Rooms

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Photos by zrants


New galleries bring buzz to San Francisco, but no gold rush—yet

by Jori Finkel : theartnewspaper – excerpt

Art scene is expanding into other parts of the city after high rents forced an exodus from downtown

After new spaces opened on the coattails of the dramatically expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) last year—most notably Gagosian opening a branch within a few blocks—the city’s gallery scene continues to grow…

In January, the blue-chip Berggruen Gallery unveiled a three-floor, 10,000-sq. ft space South of Market, next door to Gagosian. The same week, former Matthew Marks director Adrian Rosenfeld opened a new space in the Minnesota Street Project in the scruffy Dogpatch neighborhood, joining Rena Bransten, Anglim Gilbert, and Altman Siegel, which ­relocated there in November.

The downtown exodus has been fueled by sky-high real estate prices. Claudia Altman Siegel, Catharine Clark and Stephen Wirtz all mentioned rent rises as a factor in leaving the 49 Geary building in recent years. Gretchen Berggruen said the gallery’s move, after 46 years on Grant Avenue, was prompted by a desire for more space and “amenities” that collectors expect, like parking. In effect, the city’s gallery scene is once again expanding after a contraction. But is the collector base that underlies it also keeping pace…(more)

The lack of interest in the arts can probably be traced back to the removal of art, music, and humanities from the public school curriculum. People with no education or appreciation of the arts are not likely to invest or become serious collectors. What passes for quality visuals these days is astonishingly bad. Take a look at the ugly buildings going up all over the place if you want to see a good argument for returning art to the classrooms.

Why Silicon Valley’s Young Elite Won’t Invest in Art

by James Tarmy : bloomburg – excerpt

A lot of money is flowing in and out of the bank accounts in the Bay Area—but it’s not going toward art, a traditionally San Francisco status symbol.

Walking through the frigid warehouse that housed the inaugural San Francisco edition of the Untitled Art Fair in January, 23-year-old entrepreneur Connor Zwick took in the fair’s 55 contemporary art galleries and was unimpressed.

“I look at art all the time and see a lot of art I like,” he said. “But it’s not correlated with price at all.”…

Trickle Down

San Francisco’s collectors come from virtually every sector: finance, real estate, venture capital, even retail. The city has an established arts culture, and its older families—the Schwabs, the Fishers, the Haases—have bought, and then donated, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars’ worth of art. (The new wing at the city’s Museum of Modern Art is filled with works donated by the Fisher family.) But the highest echelons of the tech world—the new elite of San Francisco—have been slow to join them…

Culture Shift

Buell, the adviser, speculates that the rising ranks of tech managers will eventually get around to buying art, but “I think it’s going to take a little bit more time, I’ll be totally honest,” she said. “People in the art world are like ‘hurry up and spend money,’ but many of these guys are working their tails off,” she continued. “They’re just having their children and buying their first houses. I think the trickle-down will happen, but further down the line.”

Sanghvi, the engineer, said outsiders need to remember that the tech sector continuously deemphasizes ownership of anything, let alone million-dollar artworks. “Today, people aren’t inclined toward buying a home or car or owning things,” she said. “And there have been markets that have been developed to facilitate things that are communal—like Uber or Airbnb.” If you don’t own your house, in other words, you probably won’t spend tons of money to decorate it. “Most of the material things that we’ve traditionally invested in are no longer relevant for this generation,” she said… (more)

Making News!

Artspan news

We’ve had some fantastic press coverage this year.
Check out this marvelous article in 7×7 about three of the art collectors we featured in Open Collections. Read Hoodline’s  feature on this weekend’s SF Open Studios artists in the Sunset, and listen to this interview with Joen Madonna on KALW’s Open Air.

Thanks to our media sponsor, KALW, for presenting public service announcements all month long. You may catch one while you are soaking up their creative and informative programming.

Good year for publicity as the artists struggle to keep their place in this historically art friendly city. San Francisco artists are joining others in cities all over the world and they are being out-priced and outed by the greed factor facing us all.

Terry Helbling’s Tenderloin Flat Full of $200K in Stolen Art

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

This is a really bizarre story that appears to be from 2011. It is weird, non-the-less. Read it and find out just how weird. The art is strangely reminiscent of the Beaux Arts collection. The way the pieces are arranged on the walls and everywhere else. View a slideshow of all the stolen art here.

Queried about his client, Terry Helbling, attorney Kenneth Quigley rhapsodizes an artful response: “Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them, and psychiatrists earn the rent. Terry lived in a castle in the sky for a long time.” Today, he will crash to earth.

It goes down on a hazy late January afternoon, when Helbling waddles into a San Francisco courtroom. While he may be the city’s most notorious art thief, the Tenderloin resident will never be mistaken for Thomas Crown. Helbling, 53, is short and balding with a dusting of a white beard. His posture is stooped, and he shambles in his oversize orange jumpsuit. Also, he has an affinity for cramming things into his ears; Quigley, his court-appointed counsel, curtly yanks out the wads of balled-up tissue like an impatient mother and drops them into Helbling’s shackled hands… (more)


At Dogpatch’s New Art Hub, There’s No Such Thing As Priced Out

By Lauren Murrow :modernluxury – excerpt
Minnesota Street Project (which doubles as the setting of this month’s fashion portfolio) is transforming an industrial stretch of Dogpatch into an ambitious art laboratory.

Minnesota Street. That’s…where now? Even native-born San Franciscans might have a hard time pinpointing the narrow, eight-block-long drag on a city map (look down there on the southeastern corner of Dogpatch, just east of Potrero Hill and north of the Bayview). But they’re going to know it a lot better soon: Opening this month, Minnesota Street Project—a gallery hub, a complex of 30 rent-controlled artist studios, and a concierge art-storage facility—has transformed that short, sleepy corridor into the city’s newest and most unusual art district.

The project was conceived by art collectors Deborah and Andy Rappaport two years ago, when the Union Square galleries they had long frequented were beginning to falter. Decades-old Geary Street standbys like Rena Bransten Gallery, Modernbook Gallery (now Themes + Projects), Nancy Toomey Fine Art, and Anglim Gilbert Gallery were becoming victims of rising rents and the gradual gallery-scene migration to the city’s south and east, as well as to the East Bay. “For us,” says Deborah, “the idea of living in a city devoid of art was impossible to contemplate.” Andy, a retired venture capitalist, had some experience investing in real estate, so the couple began to hunt for large-scale buildings to fill what they saw as a depressing void.

They searched in the Bayview, SoMa, and Potrero Hill before settling on the industrial Dogpatch, where buildings are zoned PDR (reserved solely for businesses engaged in production, distribution, and repair), keeping rents comparatively affordable. Their first discovery was 1275 Minnesota Street, a 1937 industrial warehouse that was then home to a local woodworker looking to downsize…

The second site that the Rappaports scooped up, a 22,000-square-foot T-shirt-printing factory just across the street, at 1240 Minnesota, will soon be home to artist studios—all rented at between a quarter and a third of the market rate—as well as a wood shop, a digital studio, and a print studio. The project received 250 applications for 27 permanent spots, which its newly hired studio director, local artist Brion Nuda Rosch, winnowed down. Rosch evaluated applications for a diversity of experience and media, hoping to house artists with roots in painting, sculpture, 3-D and multimedia work, ceramics, and woodwork. The rent-controlled leases will be renewable at the discretion of the tenants—a sweet deal for the winning artists. “It’s a double-edged sword,” says Deborah. “It’s wonderful to have such a diversity of work, but it’s also really depressing that we can only accommodate 10 percent of the people we would have liked to.”

While the cavernous studio space and the galleries across the street will enliven this formerly silent corridor with the sounds of artists working and gallerinas hopping, they won’t necessarily turn a profit. The real revenue generator of the enterprise is a third building, on a corner of Minnesota at 1150 25th Street, that will become a 15,000-square-foot, climate-controlled storage space to serve the city’s growing ranks of fine art collectors. The Rappaports expect the proceeds from this venture to offset the low rents they’re charging in the gallery complex and artist studios. “We basically designed the art-storage building that we would want to patronize,” says Deborah. The key selling point: Whereas existing storage companies charge collectors a fee every time they retrieve a work of art from storage, the client-focused Minnesota Street Project Art Services will offer a range of flexible plans…(more)

Collectors Share a Special Bond with Artists

When you purchase a piece of art or clothing, or jewelry, or a recording from an artist, you are taking a piece of that experience home to live with you. Every time you wear, or listen or walk by the art, memories of the time and place and shared spirits return.

When you buy a recording from an artist at a club you remember who you were with, what you wore, how much you danced, and how happy you were, each time you play the music. You relive the night over and again and again. That is why people who do not buy music at a store buy CDs from a band at a club. It is not about the music or the band. It is the night that they want to capture.

Artists set the stage with flowers, food, wine and music, and invite the public to participate as guests. These informal gatherings encourage social interaction, unlike the hushed formal atmosphere in most galleries and museums. Art events are special places, where people go to meet and mingle, to engage in conversations and share ideas.

People who need to look for a primarily red painting that goes perfectly with the red and green striped couch that sits in a beige room on a deep burgundy carpet, carry out those tasks elsewhere.

Informal encounters and memories of the good times are reflected in art that hangs on the wall, around the neck, or plays on the stereo. Living with art keeps the creative spirits alive.

M Eliza